Meet Sarah

Our staff spotlights are getting fewer and farther between since we’ve been busier, but I promise to keep them coming.  Let’s meet Sarah.




Quick Facts:
Name: Sarah Parker
Age: 22, Bday 12/28
Position: Server
Birthplace: Virginia Beach
Favorite WHBC Beer Wine: Riesling
Favorite WHBC Food: Non Wontons
Education: Princess Anne High, TCC

WHBC: Finally getting around to your interview!!  So, Sarah, how long have you worked here?
S: Since October.  I found out about the job through my boyfriend because he lives here in Smithfield.  Once I was hired, I moved in with him from Virginia Beach.
WHBC: You’ve worked at other restaurants before?
S: I did – Bahama Breeze, Olive Garden, Red Lobster.
WHBC: And what do you like best about working here?
S: The regulars; it seems everyone knows my name.  That’s not how it is in Virginia Beach.
WHBC: Do you have a favorite regular?
S: Too many! Julian for sure though!
WHBC: If I may make an observation…you are perpetual motion.  You’re like the energizer bunny.
S: Ha yeah.  I walk fast, talk fast – all the time.  I’m forgetful so I have to do things right away.  If I don’t get everything done, I just can’t relax.
WHBC: You are a flurry of energy for sure!  What do you find to be the hardest thing about working in a restaurant?
S: Not being able to give great service due to things I can’t control.  I just want everyone who comes in to have a good time.
WHBC: That’s a great attitude to have!  So moving past the restaurant industry, what are your career goals?
S: I wanted to be a teacher for a while, but there is no money to be made there!  I know I want to work with kids, I’m just not sure how yet.
WHBC: Fair enough. Onto hobbies then, what do you do with your spare time?
S: I used to dance competitively until I was 18.  Tap, jazz, ballet.  Now I just do stretching!  I play with my animals and hang out with my fiancé.
WHBC: Yes, of course!  You’re recently engaged. Congratulations!
S: Thanks.  We’ve been together for 4 years.  Hope to get married in October 2018, but it’ll depend on finances.  House shopping and wedding planning at the same time is stressful!
WHBC: I’m sure!  I can picture you having a totally flower child wedding.
S: I would love that actually.  But it still costs money, so we will see what happens!
WHBC: You go to a lot of music festivals don’t you?
S: Yeah, I like festivals because you can be weird and awkward an no one cares.
WHBC: Tell me about your tattoos.  They seem to be something you enjoy also.
S: I have 8 total; my wrist, bicep, stomach, back, neck, ankle, and foot.  The one on my ankle is an I Love You symbol with my sister.  My foot I had done on my 18th birthday and it says Carpe Diem.  The willow tree tattoo is for me and my mom and sister.  My mom is the tree, I’m the sun and my sister is the moon.  Though she will argue which is which. But I’m definitely the sun because I’m bright and cheerful.  My sister is cooler and more logical; more moon like I think.
WHBC: Very cool.  Tell me one last thing people may not realize about you.
S: I’m the only one here who still wears ties all the time.  And I don’t eat seafood because it smells. haha. And a lot of people don’t know I have no real connection to my family.  Just my sister and my Gramma.
WHBC: Interesting…final silly question.  Tell me what animal you would be and why.
S: A squirrel, definitely.  They are all over the place and no one judges them for it! haha
WHBC: Haha.  I guess that’s true.  Thanks for sitting down with me today!
Want to know what it’s like working with Sarah?  Read on…
Debbie: “I love Sarah!  She’s so full of energy and life; genuine and honest.  She’s hardworking and gives all her customers her best.  She’s great to work with!”
Chloe: ” Sarah is fun and extremely bubbly. She’s full of joy and plenty of laughs.  She always tells us her tables don’t get her, but that’s because her personality is definitely one of a kind!  If there’s one thing I may add is that Sarah is truly amazing at her job.”
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Meet Janna

Keeping up with the not always on schedule Staff Spotlights, meet Janna!
Quick Facts:
Name: Janna Williams
Age: 21, bday 6/2
Position: Server
Hometown: Suffolk, VA
Favorite WHBC food: Crabcakes or Prime Rib
Education: Suffolk Christian, ODU
WHBC: Let’s get this party started.  How long have you worked here?
Janna: It was one year in October.  Mali has been my best friend since 10th grade and he told me WHBC was hiring.  Came in to interview with Robert and here I am!
WHBC: You work here, but also go to school, yes?
J: I’m going to ODU for Criminal Justice.  I graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in 2018, then plan to go to law school.
WHBC: So you want to be a lawyer?
J: No,I want to work for the FBI in the Behavioral Analysis Unit.
WHBC: Woah.  How did this career path present itself?
J: My mom was a paralegal, so I was always watching and listening to her which made me want to go to law school.  I like to argue :).  My mom always told me I’d either be getting people out of jail or getting myself into it!
WHBC: Hahaha!  Thankfully it’s the former!  How long will you be at law school?
J: 2 years, then I take the bar exam.
WHBC: So this is the job you pictured yourself striving toward as a child?
J: Haha.  No.  When I was 8 years old or so I wanted to be a school bus driver.  I would ride my bike around the neighborhood and stopped at every driveway like I was picking kids up.  I even acted like I was opening the bus doors.
WHBC: That’s actually awesome. Haha.  And now you want a job with the FBI.  Do you want to stay locally or travel with that job?
J: I’d like to go overseas to Europe, specifically Italy.  My brother lived there and when I visited, I loved it!  I would love to go back.
WHBC: You’ve been to Italy (totally jelly by the way). Do you like to travel?
J: I love it.  My favorite trip ever was a mission trip to Burkina Faso, Africa when I was 17.
WHBC: I’m going to need to hear more about that!
J: It was so humbling.  Really the best experience of my life.  We gave them Christmas, you know, toys and things, but they gave us so much more in return – emotionally and mentally.  I have a Godson there; his name is Yann.  When I came back I got an Africa tattoo on my shoulder.  I was only there for two weeks, but I want to go back so bad!  Maybe for a whole summer!  I still keep in touch with some of the locals and missionaries there.
WHBC: I’m sure being there was quite a change from here.
J: One of the things I remember most is the stars.  Where we were, there was no light pollution, we were right on the Equator, and the sky is so clear.  You can see tons of shooting stars all at once.  It was beautiful.
WHBC: That sounds incredible!  How fortunate for you to be able to have that experience!  With everything going on with you, do you have time for any hobbies?!
J: Well, I work and go to school full time, I am getting ready to be an auntie so I am sure I’ll be babysitting in my free time.  I like to ride my horse, Miracle.  I actually just made the ODU Equestrian team.  Did my first jump in years the other day.  I was so nervous, but pulled it off.  It was great!
WHBC:  Awesome!  Back to the work side of things, what is your favorite part about working here?
J: The environment; I like that the customers know me now.  I love seeing all the Mug Club people come in.  Connie and Julian are probably my favorite – I call them my Wharf Hill parents haha.  Especially Julian – he’s always giving me advice and looking out for me!
WHBC: Yeah, they are some of my favorite people too!  Do you have any server-ly advice for someone just starting out?
J: Be personable.  Get to know the people you’re serving.  They and you will be more comfortable.  Oh and know the computer system!!  It’s so hard when it’s busy if you don’t know how to use it properly.
WHBC: Do you have favorite people to work with?
J: Aubrey and I have some really interesting conversations.  I like working with Ron too because he’s extra with me haha.
WHBC:Okay last question.  If you were to die and come back as any animal in the world, what would you choose?
J:My dog Eli, for sure.  He has the best life.  He’s spoiled; all he does is lay around and make everyone feel like he’s in love with them.  All he has to worry about is when his parents are coming home to love him, sleeping, and chasing cats.
WHBC:Sounds like an okay life for sure!  Thanks Janna!


So what’s it like working with Janna?  Let’s see..
Chance: “She makes work more interesting and upbeat, with a lot more laughs than normal!”
Ron: “She makes my time at work more enjoyable because she keeps me entertained.”
Rachel: “I love working with Janna Banana.  She’s always giving me lots of laughs and is someone who gets goofy at work with me.  Janna is a strong young lady with a fierceness about her that demands respect.  She’s got a heart of gold <3”
Anonymous person who didn’t follow instructions and write their name after their quote like I asked, but still wanted to write something witty and funny: “Well, since you asked, working with Janna is like drying yourself with a wet towel – it’s better than no towel, but you don’t feel at all satisfied. NOT!  She’s totally a dry towel gal!”
On any given night, you are bound to see Janna’s beautiful smiling face around the Wharf!  Be sure to say hi!
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Meet Justin

 Things were a little busy for us this fall, so I’ve been slacking on the staff interviews.  But I am back on track, and ready to present the next Staff Spotlight.  Let’s meet Justin…
Quick Facts:
Name: Justin Walker
Age: 16, bday 2/15
Position: Line Cook
Hometown: Smithfield, VA
Favorite WHBC food: Blackened chicken marinara
Education: Junior, Smithfeld High School
WHBC: You seem to be here every time I come in.  How long have you worked here?
Justin: My dad told me about 9 months ago they were looking for a dishwasher.  So that’s how I started.  The guys on the line encouraged me to start cooking, so I’ve been doing that about a month.
WHBC: What do you do on the line?
J: Normally I work the fryer, but I’m learning how to call out orders and work the grill now too.
WHBC: Your dad is a great chef – do you ever cook with him at home?
J: No, he’s really good at it, so I just let him do it.
WHBC: Is this something you can see yourself making a career of?
J: Maybe.  I want to go to college, though I don’t know where yet. I was thinking culinary or accounting.
WHBC: That’s quite a difference in subject.  I get the culinary, but why accounting?
J: I’m really good with numbers and math so it would make sense.  I have good grades in school; I’ve already gotten a scholarship through my high school.  I’m good at everything except Spanish.
WHBC: I’ve been told that actually.  I almost started out your interview asking you questions exclusively in Spanish to torture you, but thought better of it!  Well, that covers work and school; what do you do for fun?
J: Really just hang out with friends, go workout or play basketball at the Y.
WHBC: Any quirky hobbies?
J: Not really.  Well, I like sneakers.
WHBC: So you’re a sneakerhead?  Is that still a word or am I sounding old?
J: Haha.  No, that’s a thing.  Yeah, I have 11 or 12 pairs of basketball shoes.  My favorite pair is my new Jordan 1s.
WHBC: You’ve got 12 pair?!  That’s…{insert pause here while I roll my eyes into my brain doing mental math}…enough money to buy a decent used car!
J: Yeah, haha.  I’ll buy a car eventually.  I won’t have my license until March.
WHBC: So when you do get your vehicle and license, where is the first place (other than work or school) you’ll go?
J: Virginia Beach with friends probably.
WHBC:  Traveling…if you could go anywhere in the world, where would you want to be?
J: So many places! I have family all over the place!  I guess Italy first.  It looks nice and the food is great.  But Europe in general; England, Sweden, Iceland.
WHBC: You do have family everywhere!  Your parents and siblings are all still in this area, yes?
J: Yes. I live with my mom.
WHBC: You were born and raised here.  What is one of your funniest childhood memories?
J: Haha.  When I was 6 years old, I fell into a fire.  We had just finished cutting down a tree.  I was just walking along and tripped over the stump, stepped on a nail, then fell into the fire.  I remember my parents bringing me in and sitting me in a green chair with a bunch of ice packs.
WHBC: Oh gosh.  Did this traumatize you at all?  I mean, do you still like bonfires?  You’re not a pyromaniac now or anything like that are you?
J: No. Haha. No trauma!
WHBC: Well, I know from experience you are a very talented french fry thrower.  Other than the art of potato throwing, what interests you?
J: I like all kinds of history.  I like to look at different kinds of cars too.  One day I want to get something older, like a McLaren P1.
WHBC: High hopes are good! So last question before I send you on your way, tell me about one person you’d like to meet.
J: Bill Gates, I think.  He’s super rich and intelligent, and I think I could probably learn a lot from him.
WHBC: Fair enough!  Thanks for taking some time to chat!
J: You’re welcome!
So what’s it like working with Justin?  Let’s see..
Girl Sam: “He’s an awesome worker.  And he always keeps me smiling and laughing!”
Joe: “I like working with him.  It’s been fun helping him and watching him learn.”
Will: “He’s a good guy to work with.”
And I will say, he is always smiling and in a good mood most every time I see him!  He has fun, but gets his job done.
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Meet the new brewers!

As many of you have heard by now, Greg Bullis, our original brewer has left the pub.  We saw this as an opportunity to make some changes and try new things.  I’m introducing you today to Ryan Phenicie and Sam Horchler, our new WHBC brewers.  These guys came in full force, cleaning the entire brewery top to bottom. No keg unturned, they turned the brewery into their own; cleaning, reorganizing, planning, and brewing.  So far they’ve put out the new and improved Isle of Wheat as well as our Outage IPA.  They’ve got an Old English Ale coming at you soon, but in the meantime, let’s hear from them…



WHBC: Why did you want to step in and be the new brewers?

Sam: I’m a big fan of beer. haha.  And it’s something I’ve always wanted to try.

Ryan: I’m very interested in brewing.  I’ve been home brewing for a few years now.  I keep a kegerator stocked at home with my own brews on tap.  So this just fit!

WHBC: Given the last couple months, and the foray into unintentional sours, I think it’s important to tell our beer drinking public what the brewing process actually entails.  In layman’s terms, of course.

Ryan: So, for a regular batch, we steep 300 pounds of grain (mash) – this takes the proteins and sugars out of the grain.  It’s then boiled for an hour and hops are added in.  After the brew kettle is drained, we move the beer over to the fermenters where yeast is added and we let science do its thing.  It ferments for about two weeks, then gets kegged and rested for a week.  When the whole process is done, we fill the brew kettle with boiling water and brewing sanitizer and run that through all our lines.  Someone physically climbs into the fermenters to scrub them out when they’ve been emptied. It’s a small space to get into.  We don’t have any midgets to do this job for us, but we have Sam and he’s pretty skinny!

WHBC: Haha.  Thanks for the explanation!  So another thing I want to make sure our customers know – what is ABV and IBU?!

Ryan: ABV is Alcohol by volume.  It’s the percentage of beer that’s alcoholic.  To increase this number, you use more grain per batch because that equals more protein and more sugar for the yeast to interact with.  IBU is the International Bitterness Unit, which measures the hop content in beer.  The more hops, the higher the IBU.

WHBC: How are you picking new beers to brew?

Ryan: Well, we’re still brewing some of the old ones.  The new one coming up is my recipe and I know it’s a good one.  Eventually, Sam and I will start collaborating on some brand new stuff once we get into the swing of things.

WHBC: What is the biggest problem you run into when brewing?

Sam: Actually this first batch when really, really well!  The biggest thing for me is the brewery just gets so hot!  And it’s a long process; each brew day is about 10 hours.  Of course, that will get a little faster as we get used to working with each other.

WHBC: What’s the most fun thing about brewing?
Sam: I like taking on the new project and making it our own.  It’s fun brewing here too – it’s just like hanging out and listening to some good music while we work.  It’s just fun.

Ryan: The best part is the nice cold, crisp beer at the end!

WHBC: Do you have a dream beer – one you’d brew regardless of cost?

Ryan: An Icebock.  You make a big batch, freeze it and then poke a hole in the middle.  All the water gets frozen out so it’s a strong beer.  I wouldn’t do anything with fancy flavors though.

Sam: An Irish Red.  They’re just not very common anymore, so I would brew one of my own.

WHBC: SO is epic facial hair a requirement to be a successful brewer? haha

Ryan: Clearly not – look at me!  Sam has beard enough for both of us!

WHBC: Well, what else should we all know?

Sam& Ryan: The whole issue with the beers going sour was just a lack of control and oversight of the process we think.  That said, we are out in front of it now.  We are paying attention to every little detail and spent two straight weeks cleaning the system out to start from scratch.  Things are going to be all good from here on out.

WHBC: Thanks so much guys.  I’m really looking forward to seeing what you come up with. I can already tell just by looking around the brewery, the change will be a great one!  Cheers!


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Meet Noel

That’s N-O-E-L. None of that double L with and extra E business.  She was ever so patient waiting for her Staff Spotlight interview.  Please read on…


Quick Facts:
Name: Noel Jordan
Age: 20, Birthday 11/22
Position: Server
Birthplace: Virginia Beach, but calls Smithfield her home town!
Favorite WHBC Beer: Isle of Wheat
Favorite WHBC Food: The Different Chicken Sandwich
Education: Smithfield High

WHBC: Thank you so much for waiting so patiently for your interview!
Noel: No problem!
WHBC: Well, let’s get down to it.  How long have you been at WHBC?
N: Since the beginning.  I came in to fill out an application and Robert said he wouldn’t hire me because I had no experience.  But we see how that worked out.  It was unexpected!  I was happy for the change from my other job.
WHBC: What were you doing before this?
N: I worked at Smithfield Animal Hospital for 2 years.  It was really hard because some people bring in their animals and the animals are neglected.  That was so sad, I hated that part.  So I was ready for a new job.  I had worked a little for my mom at Sesroh, but not normally.  I don’t really care for horses, but she got one daughter who does!
WHBC: Since this is your first serving experience, what do you think?
N: I love it!  I think I’m really good at it actually.  This job is a lot of fun; you get to meet new people and the regular customers are great.  The tie guys remember when I was new and tell me how far I’ve come.  They still haven’t given me a tie though!
WHBC: Haha.  I bet they will now!  Do you have a favorite thing about working here?  A favorite shift?
N: My favorite thing is definitely Meagan’s back rubs.  She just comes around and surprises you with a stress relieving back massage.
WHBC: I’ve heard about these – I think I need in on that action! {aside – she gave me a back rub the other day!!  It was all it was cracked up to be!}  What about your favorite shift?
N: Definitely nights.  Days are nice and slow, but I really like the fast pace of nights because you don’t really have time to stand still.
WHBC: Other than Meagan, clearly, do you have favorite people you like to work with?
N: Everyone is really nice and helpful.  I do like working with Sarah because she’s quirky and Rachel because she always helps me out.
WHBC: How to you manage yourself when it gets really busy?
N: Just prioritize.  Get my orders in as quickly as possible.  Having a food runner on staff has been really nice because then I feel like I can focus more on my tables.
WHBC: Right on.  Enough about work – tell me about some of your hobbies.
N: I love acting.  I’ve been in plays at SLT, one (The Sting) with Lee and Robert.  I played a burlesque dancer and a secretary having an affair.  I was only 17 so people thought it was funny for me to play those roles.  Robert remembered me, but I don’t think Lee did.  This winter I am auditioning for Of Mice and Men.   I’m glad it’s not a musical because I cannot sing!  I’ve been in two plays at SLT and 4 in high school.
WHBC: What was the best one for you?
N: The Wiz for sure.  Because we couldn’t get the rights to the Wizard of Oz, we did that one.  It allowed us to be a little more creative.  I was the stage manager for that one; I like working behind the scenes and costume shopping.
WHBC: So you’re a creative – any other creative hobbies?
N: I like to write – mostly short stories.  I had almost a whole book written, but then my computer crashed and I lost it all.  I like to write about medieval times.  It’s fun to research and figure out the history.  I learned more by doing that than I did in history class!
WHBC: Very cool!  When you were in high school, did you want to be an actress?
N: I did!  I actually traveled to London for a theater camp when I was 15.  It was my first time alone away from home and the guy running it was scary and bossy.  We couldn’t call home, so it was like prison!  But we got to see some plays and tour around, so it was fun.  I started originally with the summer camp at SLT.  I wish they did more plays rather than musicals.
WHBC: Have you thought about going to school for it?
N: I have, but I’m just not a good school person.  I get test anxiety.  CNU is really good for acting, but you kind of need money to go to school.  My two sisters are already in college, so I’m sure my parents wouldn’t want to pay for one more and have 3 kids in college at once!
WHBC: That would be a big chunk of change.  So tell me Noel…what is one thing very few people know about you?
N: I sleep with my eyes open.  My parents would always come check on me and tell me they thought I was awake because my eyes were open.  I have special eye drops I use everyday because my eyes dry out.
WHBC: That is so strange haha!  I don’t know how I would react to seeing that!  So just a few more questions here.  If you could talk to your younger self, what would you say?
N: “Stop comparing yourself to your sister!!” We are only 17 months apart and I always felt like I had to live up to who she is.  I finally realized we are totally different people and who I am is fine too.  I spent so much time trying to force myself to that standard, I freaked myself out.
WHBC: As the middle child I totally get it.  I compared myself to my brother and my sister did to me.  Glad that’s over! haha.  Final question – if you could change one thing about our world, what would it be?
N: I just want everyone to get along.  We all have differences, and I would love if people looked inside themselves and asked if those differences really ♫♫ Why can’t we be friends? ♫♫
WHBC: I could not agree more!  Thanks for hanging out today Noel!

Keep reading to hear what it’s like working with Noel…

Aubrey: “She is always a pleasure to work with as she is there to help if needed and is a great team player.”
Rachel: “Noel Knows her stuff she’s been working there since we opened and when I started that’s who I would come to with all my questions. She’s full of sass and reminds me of a princess! A Classic beauty that can pull off the red lipstick better than anyone I know.”
Tami: “She’s a go-getter, always aware of who’s on what base, and very dependable. She’s very good w/customers.”
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Meet Wade

We are continuing our Staff Spotlight series this week with Wade!  Read on…

Quick Facts:
Name: Wade Thompson
Age: 33, Birthday 4/21
Position: Line cook
Hometown: Newport News, VA
Favorite Beer: Dark Hollow
Favorite WHBC Food: Different Chicken Sandwich
Education: Warwick High School

WHBC: Hey Wade!  I’ll start with the basics; how long have you worked here?
W: Since we opened.  I was working for Yummaries Bakery and she told me Wharf was opening.
WHBC: Oooh!  They make some of the best shortbread cookies!  How long were you with them?
W: 2 years.  She was a neighbor of mine and told me she was looking for help.  I learned a lot about baking with them.
WHBC: What were you doing before that?
W: I worked construction for a while, building houses and stuff.
WHBC: Which do you prefer – construction or working in the kitchen?
W: Kitchen definitely.  Construction has its slow season and it can be COLD!  I’m always warm in the kitchen!
WHBC:  What is your favorite thing about working here specifically?
W: The people are pretty cool and the work is steady.  There’s always something to do.
WHBC: When it gets super busy and stuff starts hitting the fan, how do you handle it?

W: I try to keep calm.  You don’t know what each situation will bring until it happens, so I just try to handle each one as it comes up.

WHBC: Have you always loved to cook?
W: Absolutely; it’s always been a passion of mine. I cooked my first fried egg when I was 13.
WHBC: A successful fried egg is a hard thing to accomplish haha!  I’ve broken many a yolk.  What is your favorite thing to cook?
W: Chicken and pasta alfredo with broccoli.
WHBC: So what do you like to do in your spare time?
W: I have two kids who live with their mom in town.  I like to hang out with them; show them a good time.  We go skateboarding and bike riding a lot.
WHBC: Do you have any hobbies of your own?
W: I like to play video games and shoot pool?
WHBC: Are you any good?!
W: I’m not a pro or anything, but I think I’m good enough to make the game difficult.
WHBC: What’s your favorite video game right now?
W: Prototype – it’s like a military zombie apocalypse game.  The main character can take over other people.
WHBC: Tell me something a lot of people might not know about you.
W:  I guess that I am pretty creative; I like to make things.  My dad has a shop in his garage with all my tools there.  I build model airplanes and cars and can make them look pretty realistic.
WHBC: Cool!  When you were in high school, did you have any plans to work in this industry?
W:  No I pretty much played it all by ear.  I dropped out of school in 9th grade.  I eventually got my GED because I wanted to have some education under my belt.
WHBC: Do you have plans to continue your education?
W: Yeah actually.  By January I plan to be enrolled in school.  Not quite sure what I want to study yet, maybe computers for something different.  I would love to go to culinary school, but I think to make any kind of real money, I’d have to move.
WHBC: Where would you move to?
W: Noel and I talked about opening our own restaurant maybe in Norfolk or Virginia Beach.  An everyday type of American pub.  There’s no telling where we’ll end up.  I have 8 years until my kids do their own thing, so who knows where I’ll be after that.
WHBC: If you could go anywhere in the country, where would it be?
W: I’ve always wanted to visit California.  Pretty much anywhere with sunshine, beach, and water!
WHBC: Okay, Wade.  Parting thoughts – words of wisdom to your younger self.
W: Stay in school and be more realistic with your thoughts.  Life isn’t a video game.  After I dropped out of school, I was homeless at age 14 for a few months.  It was not the best childhood, so definitely stay in school.
WHBC: Wow!  That’s quite a thing to overcome.  Glad you’re here!

Inquiring minds need to know – what’s it like to work with Wade?

Joe: “He’s a hard worker.  Wade comes in and gets the job done.  He’s funny and like joking around.”
Sam: “He’s a nice guy.  Definitely knows what he’s doing.”
Tom: “Never a dull moment!”
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Meet Rachel

The next spotlight  in our “Meet Wharf Hill” series is pointing at Rachel.  You’ve seen her and her amazing smile on any given night at the pub.  Now we can get to know her a little better…


Quick Facts:
Name: Rachel George
Age: 21 (or as she calls it, 20-fun)
Birthday: June 10th
Position: Server
Birthplace: Hampton, VA
Favorite Beer: Porter
Favorite Foods: Our seafood and salads, Fried Green Tomatoes, Tuna Bites
Education: Smithfield High, CNU, and TCC

WHBC: How long have you worked at Wharf Hill?
Rachel: Since the 2nd week we were open.  My friend worked in the kitchen and told me to come apply.  I came in for dinner one crazy, chaotic Friday night and decided I really wanted to work here!  Robert came to my table and told me to come back Monday and talk to the manager haha.
WHBC: Where were you working before?
R: I had worked at Vintage Tavern as a server for a while and the Gatling Pointe Yacht Club as a lifeguard, babysitter, and server.  I went to work at a doggy day care after that because I just wanted a break from people.  I used to have horses, so I’m used to dirty work, but I liked going in and hanging out with the dogs everyday.
WHBC: So tell me what the best part of working here is.
R: We are a big dysfunctional family! haha.  We all have different personalities and I just love learning about people.  Everyone here is passionate and we give everyone who comes in a great experience.
WHBC: Do you have some favorite regulars?
R: Oh no!  I don’t want to leave anyone out!!  My guys on Wednesday nights who give me ties, all the running club people.  I’ve made so many connections with so many great people who come in here.  It’s nice to go into town and see people I know.  Definitely more positive than negative!
WHBC: How do you mean?
R: Well, sometimes it gets a little crazy, especially cocktailing.  Once in a while someone will come in and you just know they’re having a bad day and nothing anyone says helps.  I just take a deep breath and remember it is about them, not me, and I try to make their day better.
WHBC: That’s a cool perspective!  Is being the cocktail waitress your favorite?
R: I don’t have a favorite.  I love cocktailing because it’s super challenging, especially on Friday nights.  I know I’ll get my ass kicked, but it’s rewarding haha!  I like working the dining room too, though, because it’s more laid back.  And that’s probably better for my psyche!
WHBC: I agree balance is so important!  Speaking of…you are getting your yoga certification too, right?
R: I am!  I’m doing my 200 hour certification with Sarah.  I’m like her assistant; she’s taught me so much!  I feel like I’ve really found “my thing” with yoga.  We plan on having classes and teacher trainings when we get everything up and going.  We’ll call it Amor and Gratia, which means love and gratitude, and create videos and devotionals.  I like yoga because it’s not a competition, it’s a practice.  You get out what you put in.  You can burn out everything that’s been blocking your energy flow.  I think learning mindfulness has helped me at my job here too because I realize that everyone is dealing with something and it’s my job to give them a great hour and a half while they’re here.
WHBC: That’s great that you’ve found what you love!
R: There are so many things I have in mind!  I want to take my ADHD and use it for good haha!  I’m going back to school for business, I want to have a clothing line, I plan to be a young female Steve Jobs 🙂
WHBC: Good for you – that’s incredible!  Is this what you wanted to do when you were a child?
R: I just had this conversation with my brother last week!  We were talking about how all I wanted to do was help people!  I want to show people how to instill their own personal power so they can control themselves and their surroundings. I always wanted to help on a large scale, but didn’t know exactly how.  Yoga is a great way to do that, though.  Seeing my brother in downward dog was hilarious, but if I can get him practicing and getting better, that’s amazing!
WHBC: So, basically, peaceful world domination?
R: Haha.  Yes!  I would love to be a travel blogger too.
WHBC: Yes!  I love seeing all your travel adventures!  You seemed to have a quest this summer to find the best waterfalls in VA.
R: That’s pretty much what I was doing!  There are so many beautiful places in our state.  You can drive 2 hours and be somewhere great to hike.  All you need is some music and good friends to make it fun.  My mom lives in Colorado, so I went there also, and of course the mountains were beautiful!
WHBC: So what’s next on your travel calendar?  If you could go anywhere, where would it be?
R: Oh wow, there are so many places I’ve looked at! {breaks out phone to look at screenshots}  I don’t know if I could pick!  I guess I want to conquer the US first.  I’ll go to California on a visit with my mom; the Redwoods would be awesome.  Oregon, Washington, the Pacific Northwest, Jasper National Park in Canada.  I have a friend in Minnesota, so I can go visit there and head over the Canadian border.  If I have transportation and time, I’m gone!  Love to travel, but I’m a home base person.  My roots are still here, but I trust God and trust what I’m doing and know all will work out!
WHBC: You have a great travel companion; the cutest dog on Instagram.  Tell me about him.
R: His name is Floyd.  Floyd the Golden.  He’s 7 months old and goes on my adventures with me.  He loves still water, but not waves yet. Like most people, he’s capable of so much more than he thinks he is.  I baby him, but I make him try new things that he ends up liking.
WHBC: He seems like a cool dog!  We almost got our dog, Desi, to get into the water a couple weeks ago.  But she never got all the way in!  So last question…if you had any words of wisdom for your younger self, what would they be?
R: Don’t waste your time worrying that you’re not like everyone else.  Embrace YOU because there is no other like you.  You shine the brightest when you love everything you are.  Realize you are the one taking yourself places and no one else.  Oh and boys are stupid – be your own lover and best friend – be a strong woman.  Trust in the journey; you will crash and burn, but it’s all necessary to building to you will become.
WHBC: {And that’s when I realized when I grow up, I’d like to think like Rachel!}

Here’s what a few of Rachel’s coworkers had to say about her:

Joe: “She’s fun to work with and always has a positive attitude and really tries to be nice to everybody!”
Sarah: “She has a radiant glow to her. She can start a conversation with anyone. Absolutely the best!”
Malachi: “Rachel is s fun person to be around she’s such an uplighting person , if you are having a stressful day somehow she will change your mood in seconds to make the work day better!”
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Meet Pam

Our spotlight this week in our “Meet Wharf Hill” series is shining on  Pam.  There is seriously nothing she can’t do; she keeps this place chugging right along.  I actually did her interview last week, but was a total slacker and not posting until now…

pam1Quick Facts:
Name: Pam Brock
Age: 45
Birthday: December 16th
Position: General Manager
Birthplace: Rescue, VA
Favorite Beer: Bell Ringer
Favorite Food: I like it all!
Education: Smithfeld High

WHBC: How long have you worked at Wharf Hill?
Preston: Since we opened.  Robert called in January last year because I told him if he ever opened another restaurant, to call me and I’d be there in a heartbeat.  I worked for him at Battery Park Grille.
WHBC: What did you do before working in this industry?
P: I had a desk job before; office administrator.  I worked at Nistem Corporations, an act manufacturer, for 16 years.
WHBC: So why the switch after so long?
P: I switched because we decided I would take some time off to homeschool the kids.  I did that for a year, then started working at the Grille serving and bartending part time.  The kids went back to school the next year, so I started working full time.
WHBC: What do you like about working in a restaurant?
P: I like not sitting at a desk for 8 hours!  There’s a fast pace and it can be stressful for a short time only.  Other jobs it’s constant stress!
WHBC: How do you help pull the staff through stressful moments here?  How do you get through them?
P: I take a breath and tackle one task at a time; prioritize.  When it’s all said and done, you’re only one person and can only do so much at once.
WHBC: What’s best about working here?
P: The staff!  Other places I’ve worked, the staff doesn’t work as a team.  Here, most everyone pulls together.  I have never worked with a better staff.
WHBC: Of all the hats you wear here, what is your favorite?
P: I actually like it all.  Managing, office work, bartending; doing different things makes sure I don’t get burned out.
WHBC: Do you have any customers who stand out in your mind?
P: 3 o’clock Bob, Ed, Don & Candie; I’ve waited on them all for a while now!
WHBC: You’ve been in this area all your life, right?
P: I have.  I grew up in Rescue and moved to Suffolk after we got married. We’ve lived there with our 3 kids for 26 years.
WHBC: What do you all do for fun?
P: Camping!  I love hanging out with my family and everyone once in a while taking a girls’ night out.  When we go camping, we like hiking and riding bike trails.  Our favorite is Jellystone; there was always a lot to do for the kids like fishing and crabbing on the river.
WHBC: So when you were growing up, what did you want to do?
P: I wanted to work with computers.  My first job, I learned programming in DOS.  I’m telling my age there!  I did that for about 5 years, but then moved to my long term job to make more money.
WHBC: Is that something you still want to pursue or is what you are doing now your career?
P: I don’t really deal with computers anymore; everything has changed since I learned.  A few years ago, I played around making websites, but that’s about it.  Where I am now is where I think I’ll stay.
WHBC: So do you have any funny restaurant stories to share?
P: One day, a woman came in with a group of 3 other people.  She had a little Pomeranian service dog with her.  We sat them, and next time I looked around, I saw she had the dog sitting at the table in the high chair on a cushion.  I thought, “Now I’ve seen it all!”  It was pretty funny.
WHBC: Haha!  I’m not sure how I would react to coming around the corner to seeing something like that. Haha.  So last, question.  A request, really.  Please impart words of wisdom on anyone who is joining the restaurant industry.
P: Are you crazy?!?!  Haha.  Seriously, it can be rewarding and stressful all at the same time.  Just take it one day at a time, and enjoy that it’s always something different.

So read on to see what Pam’s coworkers have to say!

Tom: “She is one of the best people I’ve ever worked with.  I kinda followed her from restaurant to restaurant.”
Brooke: “Everyone is equal in her eyes and it shows, ask her mother.  There’s no guesswork; she’ll tell you as it is.  She craves cooperation and will work with you.  Pam is very professional and sometimes silly; a pleasure to work for and with!”
Preston: “When I first started working with her she was the most intimidating person at Wharf Hill, but now that I’ve befriended her she is one of my favorite people to work with. She is always there and always behind the scenes doing so much to make Wharf run smooth. And she knows her cocktails! haha”
Posted in Staff spotlights | Continue reading...

Meet Sam

I caught up with Sam for a few minutes before his dinner shift last week.  Let’s meet him…
Quick Facts:
Name: Sam Horchler
Age: 26, Birthday 9/30
Position: Line Cook
Hometown: Lorton VA
Favorite WHBC  Beer: Outage IPA
Favorite WHBC Food: Non-wontons
Education: ODU-communications

WHBC: Hey there Man Sam!  I always call you Man Sam because my daughter is named Sam and I need to address you both differently.  So anyway, let’s get the usual stuff out of the way.  How long have you been working here at Wharf?
S: About 3 1/2 months.  My wife saw on Facebook they were hiring so I came in.  I ended up talking to Tami one day while I was here and she pulled my application to give to Dave.  So I guess that’s the first time drinking a beer got me a job haha!
WHBC: Why cooking?
S: I love to eat, I like to cook.  I wanted a career change.  This was my first job cooking and I started right on the line.  Trial by fire, right?
WHBC: That’s right!  What kind of career change?
S: I worked in security for three years, two years as a supervisor.  I worked at a retirement community.  My job was to just keep people safe.  We had an Alzheimers unit, so we had some runners sometimes.  But mostly it was old ladies who locked themselves out or needed help plugging in TVs. I definitely prefer my job now!
WHBC: What do you like best about it?
S: Everything and everyone.  It’s fun.  It’s almost like coming to just hang out with friends and cook while we’re here.
WHBC: Do you have a favorite person to work with?
S: Not really; everyone is really great.  Will is hilarious.  Joe and Ryan are funny too.  But really everyone!
WHBC: Awesome! So are you married?  Have kids?  Fur children?
S: I am married; I met my wife in college.  We have two cats.
WHBC: What do you do for fun?
S: I like to write – fiction and short stories.
WHBC: What’s your favorite genre to write in?
S: Horror because it’s just interesting.  When you read a lot, sometimes stories get predictable, but with horror it’s not that way.  It’s surprising.
WHBC: How long have you been writing?
S: Off and on for a long time, but I really got into at my old job.  I worked the night shift, so it was pretty boring.  I had a lot of down time.  I worked at my hometown newspaper for a while too, but journalism is a dying industry.  You can’t write well if you have to bang it out whether you care about what you’re writing about or not.  It’s work, but not in a good way.  I believe it’s good for your mind and soul to write out what’s in your head.
WHBC: I totally agree.  I dabble in writing poetry, but that’s about it.  What else do you do in your spare time?
S:  Woodworking, carving furniture.  It’s nothing great, but it’s serviceable.  I like to shoot; I shoot my guns once a week or so.  I do range shooting and hand loading, which is a hobby in itself.  Doing that though really cuts down the cost of the shooting hobby because I’m filling the bullets myself.
WHBC: So you’ve got a degree in Communications.  You’re a line cook here.  Any of this line up with your childhood dreams?  What did you want to be when you grew up?
S:  A wizard.  Just putting it out there.  I still hold out hope.
{I have to tell you at this point I am laughing hysterically because that is hands down one of the funniest and honest answers I’ve ever gotten to any question!}
WHBC: Hahaha.  And what were your goals with that?  Would you use your power for good or evil?
S: The goal?  World domination.  I’d like to think I’d use my power for good.  I’d use my power to pick up chics instead of destroying the world. haha.
WHBC: That in itself requires its own kind of superpower to accomplish!  When you had these dreams of being a wizard, what did you look like?  Full on Gandalf or…?
S: Totally unassuming.  I would blend in.
WHBC: So your new nickname is Sam the Unassuming Wizard, although that’s a bit more wordy than Man Sam.  I like it better though. Haha.
S: I actually got a call back for a job interview one time because I put down on my application that I wanted to be a wizard.  The guy hiring said he just had to talk to me!
WHBC: You seem like a pretty funny guy.  Anything super funny happen to you while here at work?
S: Not specifically.  It’s just a good, fun atmosphere here.  My last job was literally militant.  My boss ran it like a ship – very rigid and corporate.  That burns you out.  I think that’s why I like it here so much – it’s just the polar opposite.
WHBC: Your degree – any plans to use that or is this your career now?
S: This is it right now.  I would love to teach college English someday.  Regardless of what I end up doing, I think this will be a part of it. I thought about becoming a Private Investigator, but to hang my own shingle…I couldn’t make a living that way. Maybe that will be my retirement plan.
WHBC: Do you enjoy traveling or are you more of a homebody?
S: We travel to Jacksonville a lot to see my wife’s family.  We love going to Charlottesville.  You can throw a rock there and hit a craft brewery; it’s fun.  We never had a honeymoon, so if we went out of the country to travel, I think we’d go to the UK and Ireland someday.  My wife’s family, way back in the day, owned County Cork in Ireland.
WHBC: Sweet!  Ireland is on my list too!  So, Sam the Unassuming Wizard, if you were able to speak to your younger self, what would you say?
S: What the hell are you doing?!  I goofed around a lot as a teen, tested a lot of boundaries.  But I guess you have to – isn’t that the reason for adolescence?  I wouldn’t change anything though I don’t think.  Because your personality is just a collection of experiences and if you change one thing, you change your whole self.  Looking back I wouldn’t have gone to ODU, but if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have met my wife.  See what I mean?
WHBC: I get it, seriously. That’s one of the wisest things I’ve ever heard!  So lastly, words of wisdom for someone who wants to follow in your career footsteps?
S: Pay attention, ask questions, and keep your head down.  Even if you’ve been through culinary school, you still have to learn the ropes.  Take it seriously.  Get here on time and work hard.  The worst thing you can be is unreliable.
WHBC: Well said!  Thanks for a great interview, Sam!

Want to know what it’s like working with Sam?  Read on…
Girl Sam: “Man Sam works really hard and taught me all the workings of the fryer!  I love working with him because he is funny and nice to everyone.”
Nick: “If you have ever wondered what it’s like to work with Peter Parker from Spiderman, it’s like that.”
Kyle: “Sam is eager to learn and always on time.  You can tell he loves what he does.”
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Meet Tami

Poor Tami had to wait forever it seems for her interview.  I was on vacation, then had surgery so I was laid up and couldn’t write or type!  So here we are…meet Tami!
Tami 2
Quick Facts:
Name: Tami Ducceschi
Age: 36, Birthday April 22
Position: Bartender/Manager
Hometown: Virginia Beach VA
Favorite WHBC  Beer: Bell Ringer – it removes all motivation to be productive for the rest of the day!
Favorite WHBC Food: Crab cakes
Education: VA Wesleyan and TCC

WHBC: Your hometown is Virginia Beach – how did you get to be out here?
T: My husband and I have a blended family; 4 boys between us.  We needed a bigger house to raise our family in.  So we started looking around and decided to drive out here one day.  And we kept driving, and driving, and driving.  Haha.  It felt like we wouldn’t stop.  But we found a home in Windsor in 2012 and love it.  I prefer being here in the country to the beach.
WHBC: I’m sorry.  You just said 4 boys.  They must keep you on your toes!
T: They do.  They’re 8, 13, 14, and 15.  It could be worse; they could all be girls haha!!  They are all really go kids.  They are all so different; they do their own things so they don’t fight much.  I’m very lucky.  They all know what is expected of them.  My husband and I run a pretty tight ship.  The boys know the rules and follow them.  Most of the time.
WHBC: What do you like to do as a family?
T: Camping and traveling.  We’ve been to Pocahontas, Cherrystone, North Landing, Kiptopeke, Lake Gaston.  We just got a boat and finished out boater safety course, so we are looking forward to wake boarding, fishing, and crabbing.
WHBC: What’s been your favorite family trip?
T: I would say when we went to Disney.  They were all little and could enjoy it.  We went to Massanutten also.  I had tried skiing before and swore I’d never do it again, but we took a lesson there and I tried again and found out I really like it!  Snowboarding not so much.
T: I am very family oriented, and family doesn’t always mean blood.  We are very fortunate to have a couple of families we camp with who we are very close to; we have a solid friend group.  I like my house to be the place where we have bonfires and everyone hangs out and comes together.
WHBC: Very cool!  Do you have family nearby?
T: My mom and grandparents used to live in Virginia Beach, but moved out here near us.  After my mom passed last year, I started being the one to take care of my grandparents.  They’ve since moved to Hampton and I don’t see them often.  My great aunt still lives at the beach, and I take care of her making sure she has what she needs.  I’m the only family she has left.
WHBC: Wow what a full plate you’ve got!  When are able to slow down and relax a bit, what do you like to do?
T: I do genealogy.  Once I start doing that, it’s hard to stop.  I just keep making connection after connection and all of a sudden, the day has gone by.  My dad told me at one time we were related to Stonewall Jackson so I’m trying to figure that out.  I think I’ve got much of his side of the family traced back to the 1400’s.  I also like to work around the house – paint, yardwork, planting, different home projects.
WHBC: Your downtime seems like it keeps you busy too!  So how long have you been working here?
T: Since the very beginning.  I started as a server, then moved on to bartending, then managing.
WHBC: What position do you like working the best?
T: Bartending I think.  I get to spend more time with the customers and can stand and talk to people.  I don’t have to leave their table and come back at all.  I like having that personal time with them because I like to laugh and joke with people.  And the money is good too!
WHBC: Do you have a favorite regular customer?
T: I’m sure I’m going to leave people out.  If I had time to think I could give you a whole list.  Ed, 3 o’clock Bob, Larry, Ed & Cindy, Mark, Megan & Scott, Tom.  It’s funny though because Bob is becoming more of 2:30 Bob.  Later in the week, we have a group that comes in around 3 and takes up the bench in the bar.  They get loud sometimes and I don’t think Bob cares for it.  I like seeing his facial expressions when he reacts to what they’re doing behind him.  He likes to just sit and have quiet conversation on his corner of the bar, so he’s coming earlier now!
WHBC: I’m sure he can be quite expressive!  What’s the funniest or strangest thing that you’ve seen from behind the bar?
T:  Well, the time one of Lee’s sons came in and called Preston “Daddy” was really funny.  A lot of people get the two of them confused; they’re both tall and lanky with dark hair.  The other day a guy by the name of Will came in for lunch.  We were trying to figure out what he did for a living because he was dressed up in a black suit and tie.  I had a long conversation with him – he was very pleasant and positive.  It really made my day speaking with him.  I never found out where he was from or anything.  He tipped well and bought a girl at the bar a couple drinks then left.  Anyway, I googled his name from his charge receipt and turns out he once played for the Seahawks and the Jaguars!
WHBC: Right on!  That’s awesome you had such a great conversation with him and he never even mentioned it!  So speaking about being famous, what was your childhood dream?
T:  To be an actress. I was in plays all throughout school, but never did anything with it.
WHBC: Did you go to college?
T: Oh geez.  Yes. Haha.I went to Virginia Wesleyan and studied all sorts of crazy stuff.  I should have just started with the basics, but instead tried to figure out what I wanted to do and just ended up overwhelmed and quit.  I should have had a plan.  I thought I wanted to study psychology, but never pursued it.  I went back later to TCC for basic ed stuff, then started working at a pharmacy until 2009.  We moved out here and I became a stay at home mom and volunteered at the animal shelter.  Which I’d like to do more of!
WHBC: Yeah, I guess having a plan going into school is probably a good thing.  I can relate though!  So now to the fun stuff.  What’s your favorite TV show?
T: Oh gosh.  Big Brother.  I am absolutely addicted to that show.  I guess frustrated if the DVR doesn’t record for some reason, so I set it up to record two hours after it’s supposed to end so I don’t miss it!
WHBC:Oh wow – I haven’t watched that show in forever! haha.  Last question…and since I know you’ve already thought your answer out for this I will ask what superpower you would have if given the choice?
T:I would be a medium.  Try not to make me sound crazy here, but I have these dreams sometimes.  Premonitions.  And I think if I was a medium I could really help give people peace after their loved ones have passed.  What a wonderful thing that would be.
WHBC:You don’t sound crazy at all!  That’s so interesting.  Thanks for hanging out today!

Want to know what it’s like working with Tami?  Read on…
Liz: “Tami is really easy going.  She’s funny but knows when she can joke around and when she has to be serious.”
Pam: “She can’t count money haha.  She always comes up with different amounts when she counts the drawer. Seriously, Tami is fun to work with, as everyone here is.  Our customers really seem to like her.”
Kait: “Tami is such a pleasure to work with!  She always has a beautiful smile on her face as she prepares to take on the day.  She is very approachable and easy going!”
So basically, Tami rocks!
Tami 3
Tami 1
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